The DMX protocol is the same as the RS485 protocol, so we can use any RS485 USB converter to control DMX devices. DMX controllers are usually not that cheap, using this guide, you save money for possibly a hardware midi controller for your lighting software.
–Click HERE to view a second similar DMX Interface guide using an Ethernet cable that does work out of the box.
If you are not good at soldering (because you will need a fix to make the device send DMX) you could always buy the cheapest controller i found: Dealextreme
Before connecting to your computer, make sure to install all latest updates (old windows driver may brick your device), also only use the Windows driver as the official ftdi driver bricks your device.
Basically, all the RS485 converters based on an FTDI FT232 Chip will work. I used following device:
Now you will need the connection to XLR:
You will also need an enclosure, be creative or buy a small hobby/universal enclosure somewhere, I bought:
“Waterproof ABS Plastic Enclosure” and used my glue gun to keep the board in place.
The RS485 converter has (at least) 3 connectors:
A or Tx+ or +Data or +ve
B or Tx- or -Data or -ve
GND or GROUND or 0V
(optional) 5V or VCC
We only need the first 3 connections which are the basic connections for sending RS485(DMX) signal.
the connections of the XLR/DMX plug are:
Now it’s simple, just connect the corresponding ground and data outputs and your DMX Dongle is ready:
- Connect GND of your RS485 to pin #1 of your XLR
- Data-/TX- of your RS485 goes to pin #2 of you XLR
- Data+/TX+ of your RS485 goes to pin #3 of your XLR
Try to keep these wires as short as possible, long wires may add extra interference… if experiencing problems, try twisting the data+ and data- wires.
Not all devices seem to work out of the box, below is a Fix for those devices that are not sending DMX:
+Fix driver issues: Guide
+Try terminating your DMX chain, this may solve your problems.
There are 2(3) fixes:
The second guide requires soldering and should only be tried if the first option did not fix your board:
Please leave a comment on the fix you tried. It would be a great help for anyone having problems with this board.
I recently got a reply from “Pepe” suggesting a new fix that may mostly fix unstable DMX adapters.
Hi Steven I bought this one and is working…. http://www.ebay.com/itm/200969195861?_trksid=p2060353.m2749.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT
and i see a curios thing there is two shorded pins (as i remember i try to short some pins to get continuos work. maybe that was that case that was working for me)
and i ataching a diagram ( be careful of that hole a lot of time is leters in other orientacion then on diagram ( you can test it by shorting reset and vcc) so maybe this is a another fix( for those wich get it work for few minutes and then it fail) http://prntscr.com/7yvfmb
Ps a AGDD+test pin are conected to maing ground ( GDN + PWR Led (a GDN side)
Hopefuly this will help”
I would like to Thank “Absolete Frosty” for making a very detailed English video tutorial for this guide.
Part #1 – Hardware:
Part #2 – Software:
Windows : The best free software available(for windows) is Freestyler DMX, download and install HERE.
Now in settings choose the interface “Enttec open DMX“.. this device is based on a RS485 and works with any RS485 device.
Now click save, add your fixtures and start programming your show.
Other Software :
Mac : QLC+, Download Here. Personally, i find this the easiest,best program there is for free.
DMX Signal randomly stops:
– Try plugging your DMX Adapter in a POWERED! hub (with external power supply) this may fix random stops.
What software can i use? :
The FTPI chip should work without manual driver installation, if the default windows drivers aren’t working for you you can try downloading & installing these drivers:
Normal LED behavior :
Plugged in, not sending : Red Led
Pugged in & Sending : Red Led ON & Green LED Flashing
Small,quick and easy test software?:
kmtronic.com DMX Tester
QLC+ won’t work:
The mavericks update broke DMX output on mac’s, you need to replace your FTDI driver with an older version.
Other problems try these:
– Try on different computers & always try the windows driver first.
– (laptop) Try unplugging the power adapter & try again
– When trying, only use 1 DMX light, if this works try adding more lights to the chain.
– more solutions in comments below.
Sending DMX :
Comfirmed not working RS485 adapters :
Pro 5ft. USB to RS485-RS422 Converter with FTDI Chip
Prolific USB to serial adapter (uses pl2303)
Any MAX485 Adapter : (image provided by marmil)
Photo’s of your creation can be mailed to : firstname.lastname@example.org, these images will be added to this post to help other users create their device.